Who's ready for 2022? *Raises hand!* What better way to celebrate a new year than at our favorite place — Disney World! New Year’s Eve is historically one of the absolute busiest times at Walt Disney World. Don’t be scared away by the chaos ... there is plenty of fun to be had as you count down to the new year! Special fireworks will return to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT to ring in the new year. Park hours show that every park but Animal Kingdom will be open until midnight!
Below, you'll find our toadal New Year's Eve breakdown, including all we know (so far) about the confirmed 2021 festivities, plus all of the special dining experiences, fireworks shows and dance parties that have taken place in the past. Get your party hat (or ears) ready!
New Year's Eve at Disney World in 2021
The usual New Year's Eve events at Disney World are amazingly fun, but they also tend to draw crowds. Both Magic Kingdom and EPCOT will have special nighttime spectaculars for the occasion. Here are the current park hours (though there can be changes once we get closer, so be sure to check the My Disney Experience app or the Disney World website prior to your visit):
- Magic Kingdom Park: 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- EPCOT: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios: 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Disney Springs: 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
If you plan on hopping to Walt Disney World for New Year's Eve 2021, be sure to make your Park Pass reservation if you haven't already, and be aware that park hopping may reach capacity at certain parks.
While there may be some surprise festivities in store, we definitely expect special New Year's Eve merchandise and food to be available at all of the parks. Holiday entertainment and hoppenings may still be going on at each of the parks, though EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays ends on Dec. 30. We also expect there to be some special New Year's Eve dinner menus at Disney Springs, which also offers lots of holiday merriment to enjoy, including the Christmas Tree Stroll.
If staying in at a Disney Resort, all resorts typically have a champagne and truffle package available to guests in their on-site retail stores, while supplies last! Disney Floral and Gifts also usually offers some pre-packaged options available for the occasion, featuring hats, champagne and more. You can check out all of the offerings here. If you'd prefer to toast in advance in the parks, you can find a glass of bubbly (including champagne, sparkling wine or cider) at most locations around the theme parks and Disney Springs (including table-service restaurants at Magic Kingdom).
Here's a look at the festivities that generally hoppen all across Walt Disney World Resort to ring in the new year. We know we aren't the only froggies looking forward to 2022 — cheers!
Park-by-Park Rundown of Past Disney World New Year's Eve Events ... Plus Tips!
Below, we’ve broken down the huge assortment of special dining, parties and other festivities available in normal years to ring in the new year in style at Walt Disney World.
New Year's Eve at EPCOT
EPCOT is by far the most exciting place to be on New Year’s Eve at Disney World. With lots of activities come lots of people. But as one of the largest parks, EPCOT is perhaps best suited for them. Plus we think the crowds are worth managing for these fun-filled festivities. There’s no need to choose ... you can take part in all of these activities for a complete night of celebration.
New Year's Countdown Fireworks
The Countdown Fireworks show at EPCOT is the most popular way guests celebrate New Year's Eve at Disney World. A countdown to the new year is typically projected onto Spaceship Earth as fireworks light up the sky. With the new Beacons of Magic, we are hopful there will be some extra exciting projections. Enjoy a showing of the new nighttime spectacular, Harmonious at 6:30 p.m., and then the countdown fireworks beginning at 11:54 p.m.
EPCOT New Year's Eve Parties
Walk from Mexico to Canada (and from the old year to the new) at EPCOT’s New Year’s Eve parties. There may be live DJs hosting dance parties throughout the park. Dance the night away as you sip and savor some of your favorite flavors around World Showcase. These parties are a nice way to add some special fun to your holiday evening between your adventures on Test Track, Soarin’ and more. When it hits midnight in each country's respective pavilion, listen for a festive announcement and watch for a burst of colorful fireworks.
Live Music at American Gardens Theatre
American Gardens Theatre typically hosts a variety of performances throughout the night for the ultimate NYE entertainment.
New Year's Eve at Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is the most popular park and has historically been the most crowded during New Year’s Eve at Disney World. If Magic Kingdom is your park of choice, we recommend you arrive early and stay all day since it is likely to reach capacity for some part of the day. Save your viewing spot for parades and stage shows at least an hour in advance.
To add to your festive spirit, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is scheduled for 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.
Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks
The new year is sure to start with a bang — literally — thanks to Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. Our whole frog squad loves how wild and colorful this fireworks extravaganza is. Seeing the sky above Cinderella Castle glow with this booming presentation is a truly magical way to celebrate the new year. As a huge fan of fairytale magic and the sentiment of Magic Kingdom, this is my personal fave.
Magic Kingdom will show the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks Dec. 30 and 31 at 11:50 p.m. You can catch the new Disney Enchantment fireworks show at 6:30 p.m. both nights. We like having the extra night at Magic Kingdom as an option if you can't decide between this one and EPCOT's fireworks. We usually do Magic Kingdom on the 30th and then EPCOT on actual New Year's Eve for the best of both worlds!
Frontierland and Tomorrowland New Year's Celebration Dance Parties (not confirmed for 2021)
On both Dec. 30 and 31 in 2019, Frontierland and Tomorrowland hosted DJs for tadpole-friendly dance parties from 7 p.m. to midnight. A few of our friends from the Briar Patch and the Country Bear Jamboree made an appearance to do-si-do into the new year. This was a memorable, family-fun way to celebrate an awesome year of fun.
New Year's Eve at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios typically offers a countdown and fireworks spectacular, though it's generally more low-key than the other parks.
New Year's Eve at Disney's Animal Kingdom
At Disney's Animal Kingdom, you'll typically find special New Year's Eve-themed food and drinks, and DJs have kept the party hoppin' in Asia, Discovery Island and DinoLand U.S.A. With Animal Kingdom currently scheduled to close at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31, we're not sure if there will be anything special that day.
New Year's Eve at Disney Springs
While there won't be a nighttime spectacular, Disney Springs' special dining and shopping options never disappoint! It wouldn't be a bad idea to catch the Christmas Tree Trail before it goes away, and there are plenty of wonderful dining options to choose from.
New Year's Eve at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney Countdown to Midnight (not confirmed for 2021)
Countdown to Midnight was a more formal affair taking place in the Fantasia Ballroom in 2019. The fun began at 8 p.m. with a delightful culinary experience, boasting the best bites and wine pairings from Disney’s finest signature restaurants. In previous years, an assortment of alcoholic beverages was included in the $299 ticket price for guests 21 and over.
An interactive DJ had guests moving and grooving to music spanning from the 1960s to today. When they weren't busting a move on the dance floor or indulging in delicious goodies, guests could pose in front of an assortment of festive backdrops. Mickey and Minnie made an appearance, as well! The night closed with an amazing view of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks spectacular.
Ink and Paint Club Experience (not confirmed for 2021)
Offered exclusively as a VIP enhancement to the Disney Countdown to Midnight party, the Ink and Paint Club Experience took place in a vintage Disney Animation-style room located in The Sorcerer's Apprentice Ballroom. The special reception began at 7 p.m. and welcomed guests until 11 p.m. in 2019.
Chef stations featured barbecue-spiced Florida shrimp and grits, pan-seared sablefish, New York strip steak and more ... all included with the $499 admission cost per guest (which was the grand total for both the Disney Countdown to Midnight and the Ink & Paint Club Experience addition in 2019).
A pianist provided live entertainment and guests of honor Mickey and Minnie Mouse were present for photos with a gorgeous backdrop. Reserved seating at the Countdown to Midnight event was included with the Ink and Paint Club Experience, so you can come and go as you please.
Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve Celebration (not confirmed for 2021)
To the new year … and beyond! At $199 in 2019 per guest (all ages welcome) in the resort's Convention Center (Second Level), this party was certainly a family-friendly festivity. Kids and kids at heart enjoyed a delicious buffet-style dinner with restaurant-style reserved seating while an interactive DJ spun Radio Disney hits from a Cars-inspired DJ rig straight out of Radiator Springs.
Curious about the menu? There was something yummy for every palate, including Rex’s Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Wall-E’s Pan Seared Grouper, Sulley’s Beast White Cheddar Baked Mac & Cheese, Woody’s Favorite Herb-Roasted Turkey, a build-your-own salad bar, desserts and kid-friendly favorites such as chicken fingers and more.
There were photo-ops galore as theatrical backdrops, dramatic set pieces and special props immersed guests in the world of their favorite Disney Pixar films. You could even interact with your favorite toys, monsters, superheroes and adventurers. Kids activities included Boot Camp with Sarge, Pixar face painting and a balloon artist who could twist balloons into your favorite Pixar characters in years past.
The event started at 8 p.m. and came to a close as after heading to Porte Cochere for a special viewing of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. With a limited number of guests, this was our pick for a fun, tadpole-friendly celebration that won’t overwhelm you.
Other Fun and Dining During New Year's Eve at Disney World
In addition to in-park celebrations, there are often special options available at Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Whether it's an NYE menu, a dance party, a champagne toast, or a combination of all three, there's something fun for every froggy. In the past, these have included:
- Toledo at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
- Mezzanotte at Topolino's: An Italian Masquerade at Disney's Riviera Resort
- Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's BoardWalk
- New Year's Eve Dinner at the World Showplace Pavilion
- California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort
- Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort
- Flying Fish at Disney's Boardwalk Inn
- Garden Grove at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- II Mulino at Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Monsieur Paul within France Pavilion at Epcot
- Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Shula's Steak House at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Todd English's bluezoo Lounge at Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Tips for Making the Best of New Year's Eve at Disney World
- While the usual cancellation policy requires a 24-hour notice at Walt Disney World restaurants, many of these special-occasion meals require cancellation more than 48 hours in advance. Be sure to read the fine print and be sure of your plans.
- If you’re set on a certain experience in particular, call 407-939-3463 as soon as you’re able to purchase your tickets or book your dining reservations. Advance dining reservations are required for all special holiday meals.
- If you’re attending the fireworks at either EPCOT or Magic Kingdom, be sure to bring earplugs for little ones, or maybe even yourself. (Heck, sunglasses might not hurt either.) These shows are beautiful but can be intense.
- Note that at the parks, regular admission and a Disney Park Pass reservation are both required to access these special events — even if you have a dining reservation.
- Annual Passholder and Tables in Wonderland discounts will not be honored for special holiday meals.
- Avoid park hopping and arrive at your park of choice early because there's a good chance that the parks, especially Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, will reach capacity.
- Allow plenty of extra time for transportation, as parks are extra, extra busy on this day.
- Most of you know the drill of getting your spots for fireworks early on a typical night, but be sure to post up extra early for the New Year’s spectaculars. Not only will there be more people for the special shows, but there are extremely high-volume crowds to begin with.
- As attraction lines will be tremendously long during this peak season, we find waiting on a prime fireworks spot to be the most effective use of time. Of course, we always recommend having a family member grab snacks and drinks to enjoy during the wait!
There are so many hoppin’ activities to choose from to leap into the new year at Walt Disney World. When we’re at Disney World for a holiday, we really like to take advantage and celebrate in a special, unique way. What do you have planned? Tell us in the comments.